There’s an awful lot of questions to ask after the Clippers flopped in Cleveland for the second straight year, but here were two things that stuck out most to me:
Where’s the D?: The Cavaliers, even without rookie star Kyrie Irving, represent a weird defensive matchup for the Clippers. Ramon Sessions (24 points, 9-for-16) did a great job penetrating and scoring, and Antawn Jamison (27 points, 10-for-18) might as well be Blake Griffin’s Kryptonite with his length and jump-shooting ability. On no planet should Paul and Griffin get outscored by Sessions and Jamison, but that happened tonight. As a team the Cavs shot over 50 percent from the field. The Clippers have been able to secure wins by playing lackluster defense in the past, but playing on the road and not getting the usual offensive magic from Mo Williams left the team too vulnerable. If the offense isn’t clicking, the Clippers have to find other ways to win. They couldn’t tonight.
Kenyon Martin: There’s an awful lot of negative takeaways from this game, but let’s focus on one of the positives. In his first game with the Clippers, Martin provided some solid production as a weakside defender and rim protector by altering a few shots and picking up two blocks. Offensively, at least when he’s on the floor with Reggie Evans like he was tonight, Martin is going to have to knock down a few of those jumpers to keep the defense honest. Del Negro will have to get creative offensively (gulp) when Martin plays with Evans or Jordan, but the defensive returns were nice to see.The fact that he’s clearly embraced his role as Blake Griffin protector by shoving Samardo Samuels and picking up a T was nice to see as well. He’ll be a good fit.